Capt. Perfect appears flaws and all at arts council gallery

Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2001

It's chaos in Tall City. A group of vicious villains and nefarious ne'er-do-wells have the city in their grasp. It's time to call Captain Perfect to the rescue.

But first he has to find a mirror to check his hair.

"Captain Perfect," a comic book character who doesn't quite live up to his name, is the creation of Juneau artist Glen Fairchild and will be featured in an exhibit of Fairchild's work opening this week at the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Gallery, 206 N. Franklin St.

The show opens Friday with a reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and will run through Oct. 26.

Fairchild, 25, moved to Juneau from Idaho a year ago. He and his creation have been through a lot together since the superhero was first put to paper a dozen years ago.

As a seventh grader, he took some of his drawings to a local newspaper, and they decided to pick up "Captain Perfect." At the time, Fairchild said, Captain Perfect was not his favorite character, but as he continued drawing he "discovered" more about him.

The local newspaper ran the strip for only a few weeks, and Captain Perfect went dormant for several years until Fairchild resurrected him while attending art school in Dallas. For the past four to five years, the superhero has been a fairly constant presence, mostly in comic book form rather than smaller newspaper strips.

"(Comic books) give me a chance to wander along my story instead of having to hit a punchline every time," he said.

Fairchild said Captain Perfect is someone whose appearance gives an impression that his personality and mind cannot match.

"He's not as perfect as he likes to think he is," Fairchild said. "You look at him, and he's perfect. But once you meet him, he's not so perfect anymore."

Surrounding Captain Perfect is a rotating cast of sidekicks and enemies.

Fairchild said he enjoys the variety that comic books allow.

"It is so versatile," he said. "You can touch on so much."

And his reply to those who might downplay comics as childish or not a "real" art form?

"Behind every single comic book you see is a grown adult," he said. "It's not just kids' stuff."

The creative process is a long one, including literary and artistic elements. Not only do comic book artists have to create a cohesive series of drawings, but they also have to write a script that will entertain their audience.

One page takes at least four to five hours, Fairchild said, and producing a full 25-page comic book can take an entire month.

Fairchild said he admires and has drawn inspiration from a number of strips, including Pogo, Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes.

Today, however, he sees problems in the increasing use of computers in animation. Fairchild said they are a useful tool, but some artists use them too much.

"They overly use computers in their comics, and they lose traditional comic book forms," he said. "I think it destroys a lot of the natural talent of the artist."

Fairchild said the move to Juneau's more isolated setting has improved his creativity. With so many "superhero" comic predecessors, Fairchild said it is often hard to think of unique ideas.

"Up here, I feel like my ideas are original," he said. "It gives me the chance to pull back and feel like I'm thinking on my own. I feel like I've been producing my best work since I've been up here."

Fairchild said the show will have the feel of a comic book convention, including drawings and other Captain Perfect paraphernalia. Fairchild will also be drawing at the show on opening night.

And what's the next leap for Captain Perfect?

"Hopefully you'll see him (in a few years) on the newsstands (or) at Carr's or Super Bear in comic book form," Fairchild said.

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